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Andy Vences hopes to land title shot with win over Albert Bell on June 8

Undefeated junior lightweight Andy Vences (left) vs. Frank De Alba. Photo courtesy of Top Rank

Undefeated junior lightweight Andy Vences struggles to understand why his name is not mentioned alongside the top names in the 130-pound division. On June 8, the San Jose, California, native hopes to come one step closer to realizing his world title dreams when he faces unbeaten Albert Bell on the undercard of the Oscar Valdez-Jason Sanchez featherweight title bout in Reno, Nevada, airing live on ESPN.

The 28-year-old Vences (22-0-1, 12 knockouts) promises to take out years of frustration on Bell in hopes of convincing his promoter Top Rank to line up the one fight he has been yearning for, against newly-crowned beltholder Jamel Herring, who picked up the WBO title by defeating Masayuki Ito last weekend.

“I’m so much better than these guys,” Vences told during fight week. “Congratulations to Jamel. His family deserves the belt for what his family went through and he’s a marine but his performance was very disappointing. He put rounds in the bank and by the fifth round, he was tired. He was just holding on. I want Jamel to know I’m coming for him.”

Vences admits there is some history of tension between him and Herring going back to when they each had separate bouts on the same card.

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“When he first joined Top Rank, I went on Instagram to congratulate him and welcome him to Top Rank,” Vences recalls. “Then we fought on the same card one night and the crowd booed me but they were upset because the main event that night was canceled, so it wasn’t directed just at me. Well the next time it was announced that we would be fighting on the same card together, he tweeted something saying hopefully the crowd won’t have reason to boo this time. I knew who he was directing that tweet at, so I answered him back and, since then, we butted heads a few times. I respect his story but I’m a better fighter than he is and I will take his title away from him.”

Vences and his team know they have to win impressively against Bell (14-0, 5 KOs) to unlock any future big-money fight opportunities.

“I know Bell from the amateurs,” Vences said, “but he’s still fighting like he’s an amateur. He taps opponents, trying to score points. We are in the hurt business. I haven’t seen him make that transition yet. He hasn’t even fought past six rounds and now he thinks he can beat a top fighter with 23 pro fights? I’ve been tested; I’ve been hurt and I’m still undefeated. I’m one of the best fighters in the division and I just hope people start to realize it and give me the respect I deserve.”

Vences is coming off a dominant, one-sided performance against Dardan Zenunaj last February in a bout he almost didn’t take because of surgery to repair a torn bicep he suffered in his victory over Frank De Alba last year.

“I’ve never said no to a fight ever,” Vences proclaims. “I was coming off surgery and wanted to see how my arm would feel but they gave me a hard time about it, so my manager Peter Kahn and I decided to take the opportunity and of course I dominated (Zenujaj) like I thought I would. To be a world champion, you have to be ready and willing to fight anyone at anytime, so that’s what I did.”

With an upcoming wedding coming up in August, Vences is focused on making a statement on June 8, then forcing his promoter’s hand for a big fight before the end of the year.

“It would be great to fight three times this year,” Vences said. “I just hope, after (next) Saturday, I finally get the respect I deserve. It hurts me that I have to keep proving myself but I’m lucky to have my father, my fiancée and my manager Peter to re-direct me and remind me of what I’m capable of.”



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